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FSU students teach history at state-wide walkout over education bills

Posted at 7:32 PM, Apr 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-21 19:33:22-04

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) — Hundreds of Florida State University students were out on Landis Green this afternoon for Walkout 2 Learn. Students walked out of class and showed up to learn about history that some said may be erased by bills in Florida's legislature.

This walkout also included five minute "banned history lessons" from students and activists.

Deonte Clarke, who gave a speech on African American and queer history, says he felt the need to take action.

"African American studies is apart of our history. Queer studies is a part of our history," Clarke said. "The fact that they just want to erase history as if it is not truth isn't true and we want to be able to spread to each student what their truth is and what their rights are."

That is what Deonte Clarke said he did when he gave a five minute lecture on African American and queer history at Landis Green.

Clarke, a political science major, spoke about how he said his black ancestors could have their history erased.

The audience: FSUstudents who walked out of class in opposition to legislation like HB 1069, 1223 and 999.

Bills that would ban DE&I programs, erase certain majors and limit discussion on sexuality and gender identity. This prompted organizers like Andres Cubillos to organize "Walkout 2 learn."

Walksouts like this happened across the state, from Tallahassee to Sarasota.

"We're told we don't matter, our history doesn't matter. And so, being out here today is to show that yes, people care about these issues. People want to learn about black history and queer history."

Something organizer Alexis Dorman said is important as she says this bill will push students out of Florida.

"We are losing really smart students who would be able to give back to the state in a very productive way," Dorman said.

Clarke said he is excited to keep sharing history lessons with those who are here and to continue to do so regardless of the outcome.

"It inspires me as well. Just shows me that no matter what, we still have our right to talk. We still have a platform no matter what we're given," Clarke said.

Walkout to Learn organizers like Dorman and Cubillos said they plan on hosting more teaching events, even if this legislation becomes law.